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Post Fri Feb 27, 2004 4:35 pm

Who owns what?

If a fictitious designer did some lovely logos etc for a sign company he was employed full-time by, and then the company came up for sale, and was sold, but the designer guy didn't fancy carrying on in the Brave New World of the new owners, but thought he would like to have his own sign company, (Or join another in the area) who owns the designs? The clients would obviously be able to enjoy fair use of the designs but who actually owns them? Or does it matter?
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Post Fri Feb 27, 2004 4:54 pm

Hi Cabbage (great name)
I don't know for sure but I think the owners of the company that you worked for hold the copywrite on any design that you came up with whilst in their employ - (unless you have a contract stating differently). I could be wrong but I know from previous experience that if you invent something in your employers time that they have a strong claim to the rights.
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Post Fri Feb 27, 2004 5:27 pm

I'm no lawyer but in my world I'm afraid that they belong to the company who paid for them. Who owns the company is immaterial.

I guess that's not what you wanted to hear. Sorry. :(
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Post Fri Feb 27, 2004 5:35 pm

Which company? The one Mr Bloke is employed by, or the one the job was for?

Might put a new spin on it if the original files were on my, er, his PC at home.
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Post Fri Feb 27, 2004 5:56 pm

Whichever company paid for them. :D

There is another recent thread on this subject but, again, my opinion only, if the end user paid for the design then it belongs to him. If no charge was made then it belongs to your, er, sorry, his ex-employer.
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Post Fri Feb 27, 2004 6:12 pm

Hmmmmm Maybe.
They both paid for them in theory...

I think Mr Bloke here will use them anyway... as he considers them to be his.

And if he was to be employed, temporarily at least, by the new owners under a new contract, then what? Are the files theirs, the previous mobs' or his?? (Or all fours??!)

Think I'll emigrate......
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Post Fri Feb 27, 2004 8:56 pm

Hi Cabbage, always gives me wind :oops:

The copywrite belongs to the empoyer where the design was manifested, even if it wasn't the employer that came up with the design.

I looked in to this (see other thread) when i was setting up on my own (after leaving previous sign company) and that is what the copywrite people told me. Also there is no copywrite on pure text and information, so Joe Bloggs Painter and Decorator add, tel no. etc etc on a van shop front whatever, there is no copywrite it is only down to the art work, or if the font has been altered.

So sorry John although your idea would be the most popular for most people it isn't the legal one unless the customer stipulates that they want to retain the copywrite.

Its a hard life eh!

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Post Fri Feb 27, 2004 9:21 pm

If you submit artwork/text/labour, whatever in return for cash/something/anything! By law, the person you submitted it to belong to it. You may be the originator, but they are legally allowed to use it in whatever fashion they want. :wink:

i am sure it doesnt feel fair to the originator when they walk away & then want to use it. but think about if you were the person paying in return for it in the first place? :-? thats were it really isnt fair!
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Post Fri Feb 27, 2004 10:58 pm

That may be correct Rob in as far as the actual item they paid for, ie the van livery, the shop facia, the window graphics etc, but they don't have the right to reproduce 'your design' on thier other media. If that were the case then my initial question on this subject (December) would not have been necessary ie I would be able to reproduce my ex employers art work when the customers come to me.

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Post Sat Feb 28, 2004 12:13 am

The guy who invented the PACMAN game way back, worked for a Japanese corporation, he was paid a pittance to design this game and made no more money out of it than what he was paid in his weekly pay packet. His company made millions out of it. He made nothing. Thats the way it is! The company will always hold the copyright.

I think that should answer your question.
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Post Sat Feb 28, 2004 12:21 am

read about that guy too mike, shame, he died a few years back!!
who made all the money??? :cry: :cry:

(edit) oops wires crossed it was the game boy)


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Post Sat Feb 28, 2004 1:03 am

My understanding of copyright law is that the original designer automaticaly holds copyright of any original work.

This means that the copyright automaticaly belongs to your fictitious designer Mr Cabbage.

However your fictitious designer should check the terms and conditions of his contract of employment to check that within the small print there is not a clause stating that designs and inventions are the copyright of the company he was working for. When I worked for Scottish and Newcastle Breweries a number of years ago I recall that in amongst the small print of my contract of employment was a clause stating that any original design or invention I produced remained the intelectual property of the company.

If a clause like this was not in your fictitious designers contract then I believe he has the right to continue using it (and in fact he is entitled to prevent the company he was employed by from using it in future).

So there :P
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Post Sat Feb 28, 2004 1:52 am

In a way I agree with you phill.. :D
(there is a proper procedure to copyrighting something though, & that must be done first before claiming to be the originator)
But, if this “copyright” work was officered in return for goods/wage/labour/whatever, that automatically hands over the right to the person giving something back in return for the artwork/labour/whatever.
This type of barter over-rides the copyright in various ways under law. The originator will still be labelled as the originator “not denying that” but the person paying using whatever method they choose to pay in return for this artwork/goods/etc is able to use it in the same sort of fashion it was intended to begin with, for however long they wish. To deny that of them simply cannot happen.
under employment law it is even a little more strict, the employer holds the rights as he is paying for the service/labour etc
It is a bit like making a huge sign for someone while working for a company.
You leave and go out on your own. Call the company and tell them to take it down. Because you own the design!
You could of course go round during the night and pick all the vinyl design off the sign. . This then would be labelled as theft of course? :-?

This is not just my opinion but that of lawyers I have spoken to in recent weeks discussing a similar set-up.
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Post Sat Feb 28, 2004 10:24 am

Rob this is contrary to what I have been told by the copyright people, so now I am confused! (chat.) Maybe I don't fully understand what you are saying, is that all customers to your sign shop after paying for the design/goods are then free to go to Phils shop and order the same design from him the following year say? (because they own the design since they have paid for it).

What if all invoices have in the small print "copyright of all work remains with the xyz company"?

In your senario, you couldn't ask for the sign to be removed (or remove it yourself) because the copyright remains with the company you worked for, and they gave the customer the right to have that sign because they paid for that right through paying the invoice.

Think of all the tapes/cd's/videos, you pay for one cd and have the right to listen to that cd but, because you paid for the songs does not mean you are allowed to then copy that information or do whatever you like, it entitles you to just that one copy!

I quote "There is no registration system for copyright in the UK. It comes into operation automatically when it is fixed in some manner - it physically exists as a manuscript or software, for example. The owner has the legal responsibility to prove they own the copyright. GENERALLY THE OWNER OF THE COPYRIGHT IS ITS FIRST CREATOR OR AUTHOR (OR THEIR EMPLOYER IF THE MATERIAL IS PRODUCED IN THE ORDINARY COURSE OF THEIR EMPLOYMENT)......PHOTOGRAPHERS AND WEBSITE AND GRAPHIC DESIGNERS, FOR EXAMPLE, RETAIN COPYRIGHT OWNERSHIP IN THE WORK UNLESS THEIR CONTRACT SAYS OTHERWISE. THERE IS NO COPYRIGHT IN A NAME, TITLE, SLOGAN OR PHRASE, ALTHOUGH YOU MAY BE ABLE TO REGISTER THEM AS TRADE MARKS. You can buy sell or transfer copyright. Or you can license others to use the work while paying you royalties. You retain ownership over the rights themselves". Unquote.

Phew that was heavy :roll:

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Post Sat Feb 28, 2004 10:30 am

He he he...

Ok this might be a bit sneaky but with some of my customers (those I think are a bit sneaky themselves) I don't bill for design.

Ok, most of my work is design for print, so it is a little different. Someone orders lettersheads. They are in full colour with photographs, taken by me and edited in a fashion to create a collage. Owing to the nature of the images used, this requires updating every year. So I am asked to do so. I don't chrge for this because I make good markup on the the repeat orders every 3 months.

However, knowing the customer well, they will try to screw me on pric along the way. So I 'invite' them to get a cheaper quote. They can get a marginally cheaper quote... for the print. But would be charged for all the artwork on top of that. So, what do they do??? Ask for the artwork... guess what I say?

No, because I have never invoiced them for artwork. If they want it, they will need to pay.

Don't get me wrong, I don't do this for everyone... just the ones I have that wee niggle at the back of my head about, as you get to know them better!

Just my slant on things,

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Post Sat Feb 28, 2004 12:35 pm

Hi mate.. Please do not take all I say as gospel. I am far from the one need to get advice on this. I am speaking only under my own recent circumstances & legal advice I was given. I know there are many different methods of copyright around the globe.
e.g. What maybe legal in the USA is not here.

Maybe I don't fully understand what you are saying, is that all customers to your sign shop after paying for the design/goods are then free to go to Phils shop and order the same design from him the following year say? (because they own the design since they have paid for it).



If you charge someone to create them their own company design/logo & they pay you for it in whatever method agreed. Then that is now their design. You are still the originator but you sold them the right to use it as their own.

Lets say a customer comes into you, he hands over his letterhead and asks you use it on their new van.
Who is breaking the law now? should you not do it because the design belongs to guy that made the letterheads?

If you are staff being paid for labour and skill to create artwork & at the end of the week receive a wage from your boss. He is the owner of all the work you created. (You still are the originator) but couldn’t leave the company & go to that customer using that artwork as yours. Granted different type of situation so different laws will apply.
If a company is bought over, the owner is not allowed to start up in business or be a director of any company in the same field as he was previous for a minimum of 3 years. "same kind of idea in a way"


What if all invoices have in the small print "copyright of all work remains with the xyz company"?


If this is the case. Yes “the work is copyright & cannot be used”.
But, if that work is sold to someone to use in some fashion or another for cash/labour or whatever. Then that person can use that same work for as long as they like and the originator cannot take it back. As long as it is used only in the fashion first intended.


Think of all the tapes/cd's/videos, you pay for one cd and have the right to listen to that cd but, because you paid for the songs does not mean you are allowed to then copy that information or do whatever you like, it entitles you to just that one copy!


Im getting to far over my head now.. :lol: :lol:
The above is certainly copyright. To my knowledge, what you are buying is a license to view listen to etc. not to copy and make money from.
Many copyright products come with different licenses.

Not sure if this is a good example, but!
You buy signlab. You cannot duplicate it in anyway, or use it on multiple machines. But you can make money from using it daily to make signs. This being the intended nature of the licence you purchased.
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Post Tue Mar 02, 2004 11:19 am

Thank you for all that. It is a minefield judging by the differing opinions. Maybe I'll take what I need and make sure I put the "Copyright remains with Cabbage Sign Company" at the bottom of all my paperwork in future. I guess, seeing as I have had my work copied by other sign companies, it's not too bad to copy my own work. At least it should be as beautiful as the original..
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Post Sun Mar 07, 2004 10:32 pm

I think that with this situation we have to either charge as a graphic designer would or make it well known to the customer that the copyright of the design is yours and that they will need to get written permission to have it reproduced. In which case you would then add a disk fee for providing it in the correct format required.

Signmakers rairly charge a fee for artwork comparable with that of a graphic designer.

It is arguable that if your customer has paid for the time you have spent digitising/designing then they should be the owner. However, this is rairly the case as you work to a package as a whole. You don't mind not charging a designers/artwork fee or charging at the cost of your time as you are getting more out of it by making the sign - however if i could charge a graphics designer fee of say £1000 to design and layout artwork for a sign, i wouldn't be bothered if they went elsewhere to get it made.

One thing that used work for me was to have the names and tel no. of some local graphic designers along with samples of their prices. I'd then explain to the customer that my fee for artwork is purely to cover my time as i would be doing the full sign, I'd also explain that anyother usage of the artwork would need to be cleared with me first. If a request was made for artwork for the litho printer i'd put it into the correct format and charge a disk fee. All the time showing the customer the price the graphic designer would charge to design.
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Post Mon Mar 08, 2004 3:13 am

Get around ot all by not making it an artwork charge, but a setup charge. That way you're covered.

Now we are doing a lot of print and design work, if Jenny has to do a logo for a client, that's $500 to us plus tax. In which case the client gets a disc with the logo in vector format and as a hi res raster image in what ever format they want. If they want to go somewhere else then fine. I recommend to the client to trade mark their name & or logo to further protect them.

When doing business cards and the like, Jen charges a setup fee which is for her to get that job print ready. The customer is not entitled to that file if they leave...It's just a pcosting for our time spent to setup that particular job.

Exactly the same goes for signage. If a customer's logo needs to be redrawn or vectorized, unless they've agreed to pay me specifically to do this, they don't get access to the file when I'm done...It's just a charge to set up the job, not art work.

Interesting thread though.

My personal opinion is that if someone designed something while being employed by a company that all work done is owned by the company who pays for your labour and should reap the rewards of that labour.

Ethically it's a bad way to start business.

In the same vein, Jenny works for a print shop full time as a designer. There's no way she'd get away with leaving and taking the customers designs with her. Not that she'd even try to.She's got more moral fibre than that.

Lee
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Post Tue Mar 09, 2004 11:00 pm

Jenny's moral fibre content aside, it's dog eat dog out there and we have to do all we can to support and promote our own interests. Take the old adage, "man has but a small amount of hay". I think that says it all....don't you?

Why do Marxists only drink herbal tea?
Because property is theft.

Maybe the design belongs to everyone in the world..living and dead and not born yet. And the animals.

What is a company?

Do I own the contents of my own brain? And have I got it backed-up?

If you have a pie, do not attempt to wear it as a hat. (I've tried it)
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Post Tue Mar 09, 2004 11:32 pm

Well Cabbage me old mate ...You do what you've gotta do. Get your mate to get a solicitor...Find out the facts and let him go with his choice.
if that's the way you want to do business.
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Post Tue Mar 09, 2004 11:55 pm

Leeroy has rightfully claimed the moral high ground. I shall attempt to surprise him, under cover of darkness, with a pincer movement, infantry on the left flank and cavalry to the right. cutting off his moral fibre supply chain....and then multiply that by three and divide it by the number of moral high grounds you can fit in an average-sized sign shop.


Anyone know a good name for a sign shop? Or a really dreadful one?
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Post Wed Mar 10, 2004 12:14 am

cabbage you've lost me!! :o

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Post Wed Mar 10, 2004 12:26 am

Nah Cabbage. I'm not that moral. I'm pretty sure if I walked into a church...There'd be a large hand descending Monty Pythonesque style and flick me out like a used bogie.

However...In business I decided to to try and have my customers think of me in certain ways...Honest, Good service, value, competant,someone that can help them out, and above all as someone with integrity.

What's your customer going to think of you if you shaft your former employer?

Just a thought Cabbage... I really don't care what you do . It's just been an interesting thread, and I've been enjoying posting.

Lee
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Post Wed Mar 10, 2004 1:02 am

However...In business I decided to to try and have my customers think of me in certain ways...Honest, Good service, value, competant,someone that can help them out, and above all as someone with integrity.


Indeed leeroy, that’s what we look for when walking into a shop, vice versa for our own customers.
When a customer feels this way about you, you can be guaranteed they will return. :D
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Post Wed Mar 10, 2004 1:23 am

I think the whole point here Cabbage is how you prefer to earn a living.

I could, if I was so inclined, duck & dive and earn a very reasonable living just buying and selling things. Equally I could have continued to earn a good living as a graphic designer. One of the reasons I decided to jump into the sign industry is its an honest way to earn a living, and a good living provided you do a good job.

Lee made valid points, if your customers realise you've practically stolen designs from your former employer, what are they going to think of you? And it won't be long before they feel its their perfect right to take those designs to Mr Bob-A-Job down the road who'll do it for £90!

Could you not redesign your original design, improve on it and present it to the customer? Present yourself as an individual, completely separated from your former employer, and show them that it was your design skill they were paying for, rather than a specific design. Easier said than done, I know, but surely it would be better to approach these ppl as an independant signmaker who can give them what they're looking for rather than (from their perspective) a disgruntled ex-employee who is after stealing his ex-bosses client list.

I'm not getting at you here Cabbage, just trying to offer a constructive option to this. There are hundreds of customers out there that will pay for your skills and your design style, so if you want a clean break from your employer, do just that! Disassociate yourself with his/her business, strike out on your own and show him/her how it should be done! If he/she can't do the designs you can do, leave him/her with your designs that you did whilst in his/her employment as a reminder to what he/she will be missing (Doodlebug, political correctness makes for hard typing!! :lol: )

Humble opinion (and I stress opinion) but moral fibre, dignity, pride in one's own work... these define your character. As a signmaker, its your charecter that will get you the work, I guarentee it. Example of this, I had a guy in the shop last week for a quote. I quoted him, but I took the trouble to learn a bit about him. I researched his religion, his language (or his second language, unsure but he speaks Hindu) and I came up with a sign that suited his business. I even learnt how to pronounce elements of the sign in that language. He went away, off to get quotes from other signmakers in the area. You know what, he came back, gave me the job. Why? It wasn't price as I know he had a lower quote. His own words "They weren't interested in my sign and what it ment to my business, they just wanted the cash!". My character sold that sign, not necessarily the design. (Hey, thats not a bad slogan.... quick copyright the bugga!!!!! :wink: )

Cheers, Dewi
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Post Wed Mar 10, 2004 1:30 am

Jeez Dewi...War & Peace.
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Post Wed Mar 10, 2004 1:32 am

And my next reading will be from Edgar Allan Poe. He was obviously well read, but unfortunately now he's dead. :wink: :wink:

Cheers, Dewi
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Post Thu Mar 11, 2004 9:42 am

We have an new customer sign our terms and conditions before we'll deal with them.

These T&Cs clearly state our position on everything including this.

It amazes how many people go into business situations without any form of contract.
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Post Thu Mar 11, 2004 10:58 am

That sound very professional Ken, my last employer had trems and condition on the back of the invoice but I bet no one saw them, and that was only seen at the end of the contract so to speak.

Any chance of getting a sight of yours, or directing me to a site for ideas? (I appreciate you may have paid alot of money for your lawer to draw something up so no worries if that's a NO)

Cheers

Dave
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Post Thu Mar 11, 2004 11:22 am

DaveBruce wrote:Any chance of getting a sight of yours, or directing me to a site for ideas? (I appreciate you may have paid alot of money for your lawer to draw something up so no worries if that's a NO)


PM me your address and I'll post you a copy.
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Post Fri Apr 02, 2004 11:19 pm

copyright ownership

I must state that I am not a qualified solicitor although I do hold a law degree.
Copyright laws even as someone educated in the subject are not to be second guessed.
Just because someone designed something does not make them automatically the holder of a copyright or patent or similar. We often come across images in the public domain that have no copyright attached.

You can get release from designers to use images on many occasions but some will want a fee. Some will design for flat fee and you can use that image as you like. However, no 2 agreements are necessarily the same.
Some will say no reproduction in any format without written permission, others will say you can do it for personal use but not for commercial gain.
Now that is subject to wide interpretation, what is commercial gain?

If someone wants one sign made for their own purposes using an image subject to copyright are they making a commercial gain from it? Well you could say no, but you could say that if that image entices customers they make an ultimate gain. You could say that as the sign maker you are making a commercial gain in replicating that image for your client, but actually its not the image that made you the money, but your skill, materials and time, as the cost would have been the same if your client had done their own design.

Take a photo for example, you have a photograph taken by professional studio, normally you only own the actual copy you have, you do not have the rights to reproduce that image or have it made into other products (I get this problem alot in my sublimation items).

So we can all bash around saying yes you can do this no you can't do that, but each copyright can have different conditions attached to it, although standard conditions can also apply.

You can look at legal stuff yourselves if you can interpret it, by looking at the Houses of Parliament website you can look up relevant legislation on certain matters.

With respect to designs made in an employers time that gets real complicated, as was pointed out if you made it on your own computer, in your own time but for an employer it can get really messy.

If in doubt, don't do it, its very expensive to lose!!! Best to look up legislation and if you can't understand it go see a solicitor who knows about copyrights and so on, DON'T JUST SEE MR HIGH STREET FAMILY LAWYER WHOSE ONLY KNOWLEDGE WILL BE THE SAME AS MINE, THE BASICS IN THEIR LAW DEGREE THEY ARE ONLY ABLE TO READ THE SAME LEGISLATION THAT YOU ARE, ALTHOUGH THEY CAN INTERPRET IT A BIT EASIER, ITS VERY EASY FOR THEM TO GET IT WRONG.

Just remember that old saying a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, and that just because your doctor knows about medicine doesn't qualify him to do brain surgery does it!
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Post Fri Apr 02, 2004 11:26 pm

Jeez...That was a GOOD post!
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Post Fri Apr 02, 2004 11:27 pm

yes, i was just thinking the same leeroy!!!


Nik
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Post Fri Apr 02, 2004 11:30 pm

my post

sorry it was so long guys,

Guess thats why I did a law degree, so I could waffle a lot!

Just thought might as well add all the bits in one post!

Sam
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Post Fri Apr 02, 2004 11:39 pm

hey sam!!

you could waffle all night if you want!! i had taken someone to court a few years back, cost me five grand up front to stop this person copying my product!! i won!! (forgot to mention, it cost them five grand) and expenses but i am still being bothered by other copies!! hope you don't mind me asking you for some advice!! (thats if you can!) don't like bothering people! :o

will pm you later Nik
Last edited by Nicola McIntosh on Fri Apr 02, 2004 11:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Fri Apr 02, 2004 11:44 pm

waffle!

No prob with PM me later (although I shall shortly be logging off to go to my bed as promised to do some gardening for mother tomorrow!)

Not sure if I will be able to help but will do my best, as I said I am NOT a solicitor I just hold a law degree, and bear in mind that Scottish laws can be different from English!

Sam
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Post Fri Apr 02, 2004 11:47 pm

ye no worries sam just thought i would ask!!

catch you later Nik
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Post Sat Apr 03, 2004 9:38 am

Nice one Sam, thanks for the reply.

That sounds nasty Nik glad you won though, don't think I could cope with that when I'm just starting out.


Cheers

Dave
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Post Sun Apr 04, 2004 10:13 pm

yes it was horrible!! dave :o

but i knew i would win, cannot say too much on here as the culprits i'm going on about are probably watching!! :-?
so beware!!! :evil:


how did you get on with the estate board job?

nik
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Post Sun Apr 25, 2004 1:03 am

The waters still murky
I still can't see clearly to the bottom

This subject has been covered in other threads but it is clearly a minefield

Has anyone on the board actually been stung i.e. taken to court over something like this?

Has anyone been actually threatened with legal action?

John :D

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